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International Journal of Breast Cancer
Volume 2011, Article ID 481563, 9 pages
Clinical Study

Prophylactic and Therapeutic Breast Conservation in BRCA1/2 Mutation Carriers

1Allegheny General Hospital, 320 E North Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15212-4746, USA
2Drexel University College of Medicine, Allegheny Campus, Pittsburgh, PA 15212-4746, USA
3National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project, Pittsburgh, PA 15212-5255, USA

Received 16 December 2010; Revised 12 April 2011; Accepted 11 May 2011

Academic Editor: William Dooley

Copyright © 2011 Randal L. Croshaw et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Breast-conserving therapy (BCT) for sporadic breast cancer has been widely accepted by surgeons and patients alike. While BCT is associated with a higher risk of ipsilateral breast tumor recurrence (IBTR), it has not been shown to decrease overall survival (OS) in comparison with mastectomy. Many women with a BRCA1/2 mutation opt for mastectomy instead of breast-conserving measures at the time of a breast cancer diagnosis. In some cases, this is due to fear of aggressive disease, but to date, there have been no studies offering strong evidence that breast conservation should not be offered to these women. BRCA1/2-associated breast cancer has not been found to be more aggressive or resistant to treatment than comparable sporadic tumors, and no study has shown an actual survival advantage for mastectomy in appropriately treated affected mutation carriers. This paper reviews the available literature for breast conservation and surgical decision making in BRCA1/2 mutation carriers.